“How much will you pay me?” – Salaries & the related fall outs

For recruiters it is not surprising to hear a question like that from their candidates. One day I called a prospective candidate & confirmed with him the customary thing of whether it was a good time to speak to him. When he said “Yes”, I began to outline the job offer we had. I had barely completed the introduction of the company & he cut me out with his question. It was straight & simple. “How much will you pay me?”

Of course some others may ask the same thing differently. “May I know what’s the salary package you are offering?” Irrespective of which way they ask, the fact remains that there is a chunk of crowd out there which keep salary as the number one criteria to make a shift from their present jobs.

A few days back I met a candidate, who is an undergraduate. The candidate hailed from Kolkata. “What is your pay expectation?” I asked. “Well I have a high pay expectation this time.” I nodded. “I am expecting Rs 12000 per month”. I nodded again & made a note of it in her resume. Apart from being an undergraduate, this candidate had only 4 months experience & had been unemployed for about 4 months now.

Bangalore is truly, absolutely the place to be in case you want a job & a well paying one at that. Another way of substantiating this is to look under the preferred location field of a candidate’s resume that are updated on the job portals. You are sure to find candidates outside Bangalore having Bangalore mentioned there along with Hyderabad & may be a list of International locations. If one thought that it was only the IT or the ITES industries that draw people from across the country then think again. People from Admin, HR, Finance, Sales & Marketing & various other backgrounds are all flocking to Bangalore. It wasn’t like this a few years back. But then in a fast changing world a year is a long time isn’t it?

The latest cover story of Outlook newsweekly is about why Bangaloreans don’t like the IT culture. It’s a good read & does capture all the views about why the IT & the ITES industry is changing everything in Bangalore both its tangibles & the intangibles. Strangely missing I thought was a perspective from someone from the industry defending the IT industry. A view like that would have been in order as well.

No doubt that the IT & the ITES industries are changing Bangalore & that Bangalore will never get back to being the way it used to be a few years back. But imagine what one would be doing today if the IT & the ITES industries didn’t exist. It’s hard to imagine. I remember my cousins post their graduation getting into jobs behind the counter helping customers choose from spectacles to clothes. The elders would have to pull strings & get their kids good jobs. Compare that to today’s situation. Kids are grabbed off from their graduate colleges with 6 figure salaries (today’s Economic Times has a story on the front page). There is culture, language & lifestyle on one side & there is money on the other. It’s pretty clear who is winning right now.

It’s the money that is winning & attracting a lot of people from outside Bangalore & Karnataka. Walk down any of the popular places in Bangalore these days be it the Malls, the shopping streets like MG Road or Commercial Street, one can sense the mix of people from across India. Like it or not this is a fact that we Bangaloreans have to live with & I don’t see it as much of a problem. An interesting question to ask here is how much the people from outside Bangalore like Bangalore & like working here. The colleague I work with constantly points out that given an opportunity she will rush back to Chennai (where she is from). Clearly Bangalore is attracting people & people come here to make their careers & realize their dreams. Like the Outlook article says “…Bangalore is fast becoming, or has already become, another Mumbai”

9 Comments so far

  1. A.S. (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

    I can understand what a turn off it would be for an interviewer/employer to have a candidate not being interested in the work at all, but merely in the salary. However, I don’t see anything wrong in expecting a decent/competitive salary, especially if one’s qualifications are good. Academics apart, most people do expect a proper compensation for their work, and it is only fair to have expectations and come clean with them. After all, s/he is not joining a charity or the academia, but a (hopefully) profitable business.

    There is culture, language & lifestyle on one side & there is money on the other. It’s pretty clear who is winning right now.

    I absolutely don’t see why the money should be on a completely different side to culture, language and particularly lifestyle. The consumerist society that India is fast becoming (albeit because of getting six-figure salaries right after college), money really seems to becoming more relevant for very many walks of life.

    BTW, I am pleasantly surprised that candidates from Kolkata have also started thinking about money :-)

  2. Vikram (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

    Bangalore is living the American dream.. The current development of Bangalore is paralleling the development of post war America. Migrants from all over the world settled in America contributing to its booming economy. The good ones survived, the bad ones were weeded out. And all this paid off for America. Bangalore is following in the same way, albeit on a smaller scale. The GOOD workers tend to stay in a company for far longer and in that way contribute to Bangalore’s development. The NOT-SO-GOOD ones are weeded out along the way and they more usually than not, tend to find their way out of the place. All this WILL help Bangalore.

    Bangaloreans (the native ones, that is) will keep cribbing about the change to their city for ages to come, but just the way America adjusted (A DESI is now called an American of Indian origin, right??), Bangalore will soon learn to adjust.. Not far is the day when u will call me a Bangalorean of Chennai Origin ;)


  3. pritham (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

    Bangalore is turning out to be what Mumbai was a decade back and continues to be. It is great to see the variety in Bangalore as opposed to the monoculture present in the neighboring state. Having stayed in Chennai for a couple of years, I was appalled at the lack of variety in the cultures. Unlike Bangalore, there is no gaiety in any of the festivals. Holi and Rakhi are unheard of, ditto Ganesh Chaturthi. It feels wonderful to be back in the cosmopolitan environs of Bangalore. The city is going to soon outdo Mumbai am sure! And yes, I do agree that not all migrants can digest such variety!

  4. Krishna (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

    I don’t see any problem giving importance to money. When a person is asking ‘how much will you pay me?’, its probably the basic criteria to consider the job offer prior to asking other questions about company/projects etc.

    If for e.g, you offer 20%-30% lower than what he gets now, he may not even proceed and will save your’s and his time. If you are offering closer(I don’t see any problem giving importance to money. When a person is asking ‘how much will you pay me?’, its probably the basic criteria to consider the job offer prior to asking other questions about company/projects etc.

    If for e.g, you offer 20%-30% lower than what he gets now, he may not even proceed and will save your’s and his time. If you are offering closer(<) to what he gets now, he may consider the job offer if other things are better than his current job etc.

    The above things will apply if a person is already on a job, not unemployed for 4 months.

  5. Krishna (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 10:10 pm


    I am surprised to hear that Chennai doesn’t have culture. If Holi/Rakhi is not celebrated, that doesn’t mean that there is no culture. Its not popular among most of the people in Chennai. Who said Chennai doesn’t celebrate Ganesh chaturthi? Its very well celebrated in chennai, but not like Mumbai. Different people celebrate their festivals in a different way.

  6. pritham (unregistered) on December 11th, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

    I never said that Chennai does not have a culture. It just has its own, and not the kind of diverse culture that Bangalore is rightly proud of. All festivals find a place in this city but in Chennai, even during its state festival Pongal, there is no pomp and gaiety. It is just people shopping, eating, and staying home. Be it Garbha, Diwali, Rakhi, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja…Bangalore is the place to be.

  7. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

    Excellent post and very interesting comments too. The parallel between America and Bangalore had not occurred to me!

  8. Lokesh (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all your comments.
    Vikram, loved the last line of your comment. That is so correct & gives so much more clarity as to where we are headed.
    Yes Pritham/Krishna Bangalore is blessed with a cosmopolitan crowd & as a result there is bound to be a mix of cultures. A lot of South Indian weddings are incorporating a few things that till sometime back was largely seen in the North. May be the movies of Sooraj Barjatya also have something to do with that. And yes there is no problem with a candidate deciding on a job on the basis of the salary being offered. Only hope he does consider all the other factors as well first. Which I largely think is done.
    Thanks Deepa.

  9. vipul (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

    IT cos are biggest problem in Blore-just see Deepa’s post

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